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The Corbel Heads

Corbels are carved wood or stone projections that sustain weight. Our ten corbel heads appear to sustain the weight of the recessed columns above them. They are arrayed along the nave wall between the arches. They probably do not represent particular persons but are purely decorative. Medieval Gothic churches often had similar decorations. More than likely these were cast in plaster from molds. There are three designs: a woman, a bearded man with a bald head, and a bearded man with hair. The designs alternate in an interesting pattern:

Left wall facing the sanctuary:

  • Bearded man with a bald head
  • Woman
  • Bearded man with hair
  • Woman
  • Bearded man with a bald head

Right wall facing the sanctuary:

  • Bearded man with hair
  • Bearded man with a bald head
  • Woman
  • Bearded man with a bald head
  • Bearded man with hair

While uncertain, it is possible that these figures represent St. Peter, St. Paul, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Peter is often represented as bearded and bald. St. Paul as bearded with a head of hair. This is how they are portrayed in the Our Lady Chapel stained glass windows. There are many ways in which the Blessed Virgin is depicted. It is also possible that they simply represent the people of the parish.

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